The social and economic costs of hardline anti-crime policies are simply too great, the President of Liberty Victoria, George Georgiou SC, warned today.
He said all Victorians should be concerned that two former judges of the Supreme Court say that the trend to jail more offenders will only lead to many becoming more violent on release. “The abolition of suspended sentences and the introduction of mandatory sentencing for a number of offences means prisoner numbers will increase,” he said.
“Rehabilitation programs within our jails are already unable to keep up with the growing number of prisoners, and with more prisoners now being required to serve their full term, increasing numbers of prisoners will be released without supervision or appropriate rehabilitation programs.”
Mr Georgiou said that underlying the judges’ warning was the fact that jail of itself, does not rehabilitate or deter prisoners from more crime.
“Liberty Victoria has long been opposed to mandatory sentencing and other measures that limit a judge’s ability to impose an appropriate sentence.
“Community surveys show that, generally, sentencing is in line with community expectations.”
Mr Georgiou opposes steps to make it more difficult for the Parole Board to grant parole to deserving prisoners.
“While the parole system will never be perfect, a period of supervision within the community following a person’s release from gaol must be better than no supervision.”
He said the hope was that the party that wins Saturday’s election makes serious and rational efforts to tackle the judges’ worries.
“Rather than putting money into 2600 more jail beds, the new government should use it for better rehabilitation services, and scrap mandatory sentencing. This would do more to cut the number of repeat offenders than the political expedient of simply increasing sentences.”
For further comment please contact Liberty Victoria President, George Georgiou SC or Vice President, Michael Stanton.